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  • Sarault leads the Ontario League with 85 points(OHL Images)

    No. 1 star: Charlie Sarault, Sarnia Sting (OHL)

    Sarault (1G-4A, +3) and Reid Boucher (2G, +3) continued to ensure the Sting don't miss Alex Galchenyuk too much, as they led Sarnia past the Barrie Colts 6-5 in an absolute scorefest. The day began with the Sting wearing the Cornwall Royals 1980s throwback jerseys during the warmup as a tribute to Colts coach Dale Hawerchuk and then the two teams channeled a game from that decade. By the time Boucher popped in his own rebound for the game-winner after taking a Sarault feed, the New Jersey Devils draft pick had his 49th goal of the season and Sarault had an OHL-best 85 points.

    Sarault kept his teammates' plates piled high with loaves and passes all afternoon. The Fournier, Ont., native showed great vision in the second period, when he zipped a pass through the traffic to give Boucher a one-time goal and then set up 17-year-old offensive defenceman Anthony DeAngelo (1G-2A, +2) a few minutes later.

    Fittingly, on a day when a Winnipeg Jets great was honoured, Mark Scheifele had two goals for Barrie. The centre had six points in three games this weekend after returning from the Jets.

    Read More »from Sarnia Sting’s Charlie Sarault has 5-point day: Sunday’s 3 Stars
  • Tom Wilson had 4 points on Saturday (OHL Images)

    No. 1 star: Tom Wilson, Plymouth Whalers (OHL)

    Whalers coach-GM Mike Vellucci's line-juggling paid off immediately. The Vince Trocheck-Ryan Hartman-Wilson line — the playmaker, the pest and physical presence — combined for 10 points and a +12 plus/minus in a 7-3 rout of the Owen Sound Attack which vaulted Plymouth back into the No. 2 playoff position in the Western Conference.

    Wilson (2G-2A, +4), the 6-foot-4, 210-pound Washington Capitals first-round pick, indicated that he is capable of reading off skilled forwards such as Trocheck and putting up numbers. The Attack, fresh off a road win over league-leading London, were poised for more of the same after shooting out to a 2-0 lead. Wilson got the Whalers going with a bank shot from behind the goal line off Attack goalie Jordan Binnington, then assisted on a Trocheck tally to level the match. The Toronto native, who was a late cut of Team Canada earlier this season, scored again in the second period to tie it 3-3 after Hartman took a check to make a centring pass. Wilson then helped the Whalers go ahead for good by drawing a helper on a tally by Gianluca Curcuruto.

    Hartman (4A, +4) also had a four-point outing. Trocheck (1G-1A, +4) now has 26 points in 12 games since moving south from Saginaw to Plymouth at the deadline.

    Read More »from Capitals first-rounder Tom Wilson puts Plymouth Whalers back in division lead: Saturday’s 3 Stars
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Saturday night could be another day in the Portland-Kelowna matchup, but a Winterhawks win would open a nine-point lead in the Western Conference race. (Portland Tribune)

    The Victoria Royals got along rather well while captain Tyler Stahl was suspended for a head shot. He returns for a big game at Spokane on Sunday. (Victoria Times-Colonist)

    Former NHLer Kelly Chase reflects back to Feb. 9, 1988, when the Saskatoon Blades opened the Credit Union Centre arena. The current Blades are expecting a crowd of 13,000-plus as they put a seven-game win streak on the line Saturday vs. Lethbridge. (Saskatoon StarPhoenix, Southwest Booster)

    Kamloops Blazers defenceman Marek Hrbas is open to being a two-spot, import/overage player, next season. (Kamloops Daily News)

    All this winning and Kootenay is still three points out of a playoff position? (Between The Lines)

    OHL

    Lots to curse at London, Ont., this Saturday: the snow, the apparent impossibility of buying a ticket on the Budweiser Gardens website to an upcoming Pearl Jam concert and Owen Sound Attack right wing Cameron Brace. Brace drew London's Matt Rupert into a penalty, then scored the winning goal Friday for the Attack's first road win over the Knights since 2011. (London Free Press)

    Belleville Bulls D-man Jake Cardwell might be lucky to only be sitting 10 games after being suspended for an altercation with a fan in Oshawa. (Belleville Intelligencer)

    Read More »from Silver streak for Saskatoon Blades, MacKinnon injury minor: Saturday’s coast-to-coast
  • Kelowna Rockets' Tyrell Goulbourne (Marissa Baecker, Getty Images)

    The Kelowna Rockets' Tyrell Goulbourne might have to be called Little Mac after his takedown of the Portland Winterhawks' Joe Mahon on Friday night.

    It was probably inevitable the two were going to go at some point in the two-game series between Portland and Kelowna, the two best teams in the Western Hockey League's Western Conference, since Mahon and Goulbourne are the second and third most frequent fighters in the WHL. But the physical contrast almost seemed comical when Goulbourne challenged Mahon when the Rockets were down 3-0 in the second period. Mahon, at a towering 6-foot-5 and 210 pounds, had a half a foot in height and 15 pounds on Goulbourne.

    But the Rockets forward, like the video game character made famous in the NES version of Mike Tyson's Punch-Out!! — and in no way is it the least bit depressing to think that the 18-year-old Goulbourne might not have any idea what we are referencing — chopped down his much larger combatant.

    Read More »from Kelowna Rockets’ Tyrell Goulbourne scores TKO in ‘David vs. Goliath’ WHL fight (VIDEO)
  • Laurent Brossoit is putting together another impressive seasonIf there's a time for humour in the Edmonton Oil Kings' locker room, it might just be during this winning stretch of theirs, similar to last season's, but one that ended in disappointment.

    Starting goaltender Laurent Brossoit might be the first to tell you that he struggled on the national stage last May. He had an .871 save percentage during the tournament and allowed six goals in the first two periods of the Tiebreaker game.

    This morning, last season's Western Hockey League playoff MVP took to his Twitter account and channeled his inner @strombone1, posting an Instagram photo of him after having allowed a goal during last season's MasterCard Memorial Cup:

    But that appears to be behind Brossoit now, as the Oil Kings again look poised to win the WHL's Eastern Conference and will probably match up against the Portland Winterhawks in the final for the second straight season. Edmonton, going into Friday's game in Brandon, are 40-11-2 on the season, 13 points up on second-place Calgary and 20 up on East Division leading Prince Albert.

    Read More »from Brossoit, Jarry, elite for Oil Kings as team prepares for another playoff run
  • Fucale has been in goal for 34 of Halifax's 42 wins (Getty Images)

    Scanning for kinks in Zachary Fucale's game has been known to cause severe eye strain.

    One should not get carried away proclaiming that North America's top-ranked goalie prospect for the NHL draft is a young man without a flaw. The Halifax Mooseheads goalie is not immune to the fluctuations in performance and confidence that are particular to young netminders. What is striking about Fucale is that since his arrival in Halifax about 18 months ago, he has shown an economy of movement that's rare in a developing netminder. The Rosemère, Que., native, in his own words, is "patient on pucks" in a way that could make you think he's 17 going on 25.

    "For me, it's just being calm and staying controlled in what you're doing and keeping things simple — not moving for nothing if you don't have to," says Fucale, who has a 2.42 average and .901 save percentage for the Quebec League-leading Mooseheads. "As soon as you do that, you save a lot of energy. As a goalie, that's important."

    Read More »from NHL draft tracker: Zachary Fucale, Halifax Mooseheads
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Get your popcorn ready for the Portland-Kelowna showdown. You know it's big since Winterhawks coach Travis Green is really minding his words closely. (Oregon Live)

    Rod Pedersen writes that third-season Regina Pats GM Chad Lang, whose team has lost 11 of 12, deserves more time to make changes. (Rodservations)

    If Portland is getting any "relief" from the sanctions the WHL imposed two months ago, the WHL should come out and say so, writes Steve Ewen: "I get, too, that the league is hoping this Winterhawk brouhaha fades away. Sorry. It’s not going to. It’s only going to get worse. Portland could win the whole shebang. It could be the story of the Memorial Cup." (Vancouver Province)

    Make that 10 wins in a row for the Eastern Conference-leading Edmonton Oil Kings. (Edmonton Journal)

    Fun night for Everett Silvertips first-rounder Kevin Davis: get called up to play your against hometown Kamloops Blazers and play both forward and defence in a 6-nil loss. 'Tips coach-GM Garry Davidson: "He's smart and cool as a cucumber. He'll be really good for us." (Kamloops Daily News)

    OHL

    Barrie Colts coach Dale Hawerchuk tells Paul Friesen why Mark Scheifele was up against it with the Winnipeg Jets: "He needs to get into a spot where he’s playing with highly skilled guys who see the ice and think the way he does. He’s not going to be a fourth-line guy. If that’s what he turns out to be then you could say it didn’t turn out the way you thought.” (QMI Agency)

    Philadelphia Flyers-drafted goalie Anthony Stolarz was hard on himself after London's home overtime loss to Sarnia: "You want to stay mentally focused ... I wasn’t all there." (Metro London, London Free Press)

    Read More »from Rockets, Winterhawks meet in momentous matchup, Scheifele saddles up for Colts: Friday’s coast-to-coast
  • Nikolay Goldobin is eligible for the 2014 draft (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)

    No. 1 star: Nikolay Goldobin, Sarnia Sting (OHL)

    For the second time this season, Goldobin led the Sting out of a trailing-after-40 jam to an overtime win over the London Knights, who have blown a third-period lead exactly zero times against their other 18 OHL rivals. The 17-year-old sensation capped a three-point night 16 seconds into overtime by feathering a crisp-yet-soft pass to Sting defenceman Anthony DeAngelo, who snapped the puck past fellow New Jersey native Anthony Stolarz for a 4-3 Sarnia win.

    During the third period, Goldobin (1G-2A, +3) also erased the last of the Knights' lead with a behind-the-back setup that created a wide-open net for captain Charlie Sarault. The Russian also scored in the last minute of the first period, cutting into an early 2-0 deficit and ending an 181-minute, 31-second Knights shutout streak. Of course, Goldobin ended a better-known Knights streak on New Year's Day when he scored his fourth goal of the game in overtime to snap a 24-win skein.

    "I don’t know what he is used to playing in front of at home, but London’s the big-time," DeAngelo told Metro London. “It’s awesome for him to step up here.”

    Goldobin is second in OHL rookie scoring behind Erie's Connor McDavid, who is 15 months younger. McDavid will likely be named the league's rookie of the year, but Goldobin should garner some support.

    Read More »from Sarnia Sting’s Nikolay Goldobin a Knight slayer again: Thursday’s 3 Stars
  • Sarnia Sting rookie Nikolay Goldobin (Terry Wilson, OHL Images)Based on recent trends, it appears as though more draft-eligible imports are trying their hand in the Canadian Hockey League. I don't want to affix a particular narrative to a small sample of data, but over the last three National Hockey League drafts, 39 selects have been imported players on WHL, OHL or QMJHL teams.

    Over the five seasons before that, the total number was 31.

    What's the reason for the shift? Either it's in visibility or that countries are beginning to develop better junior hockey players. I'm opting for the latter. Recent CHL imports to be drafted into the NHL have come from non-traditional hockey nations like Germany's Philip Grubauer and Marcel Noebels, Denmark's Niklas Jensen, two Swiss-born studs from the Portland Winterhawks Nino Niederreiter and Sven Bärtschi, and their WHL rival, the Swiss-born-but-plays-for-France Tim Bozon.

    What more's, as the top international hockey players look for new avenues to distinguish themselves from the pack, is they're becoming not just good players for CHL clubs, but very important ones. Three imports, two of them drafted, find themselves on the top page of the WHL's leaderboard, Bozon and Matej Stransky. The third is Victoria's Alex Gogolev, who holds the dubious distinction of being a rare 20-year old import, taking up one of three Royals' overage spots and one of two European spots.

    Read More »from Imported CHL players increasing in value as worldwide player development improves
  • Combing all corners of the country and the blogosphere for your junior hockey headlines ...

    WHL

    Portland Winterhawks coach-GM Mike Johnston's season-long suspension will likely stand, reports Gregg Drinnan. But the WHL might dial back some of the sanctions against Portland. (Taking Note)

    Expect some playoff-like intensity for the Portland-Kelowna two games series that begins Friday. The Rockets got a bad game out of their system on Wednesday. (Kelowna Capital News)

    The Spokane Chiefs' 1,000th win as a franchise was all goalie Eric Williams. Well, mostly at least. (Spokane Spokesman-Review)

    Since the Springfield of Simpsons fame is in Oregon, a massive D'oh! on the timing of a glowing profile of the Portland Winterhawks. They lost at home to Calgary on Wednesday. (Portland Tribune)

    By hook or by (Jamie) Crooks, the Victoria Royals are continuing their push up the Western Conference standings. (Voice of the Victoria Royals)

    OHL

    All the Mark Scheifele's back in Barrie coverage that you can shake a stick borrowed from P.K. Subban toward. (Barrie Examiner, Winnipeg Sun)

    Will New Jersey Devils draft pick Reid Boucher get any closer to the 50-goal mark in Thursday's Sarnia Sting-London Knights tilt? (London Free Press)

    Read More »from Leniency for Portland? Thursday’s coast-to-coast

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